As Hannah’s 22nd birthday is around the corner, I imagine what other memories we would have created throughout the years. Would she be away at school playing soccer? Did she stay home from school to spend more time with Robbie? Counting down the days until graduation? While those are things I’ll always wonder, it is nice to look back on all the memories I have cherished through what feels like a lifetime of Hannah being gone.
A memory I have held onto throughout the years was the private concerts Hannah and I would host for my laptop and occasionally our parents. Hours on end would go by of Hannah and I lip syncing to throwbacks while showing off the best and very worst of our dance moves. Before Hannah was diagnosed, we would play a game where we would collide into each other with a yoga ball between us and see who would fall to the floor. After surgery and rounds of chemo Hannah still begged me to play. The nervous wreck I was couldn't say no to the girl who constantly put a smile on my face. This ball of energy would come over and do handstands and the worm while I sat there in amazement. Between that and riding quads in my backyard, we really never shared a dull moment. Hannah’s sense of adventure was something I will always admire. In all honesty, I don't remember much of her being sick until the bitter end. Hannah didn't let cancer define her. Her courageous, fun and strong personality did.
To this day I take her “I'm not letting anything hold me back” attitude with everything I do. Growing up as a relatively shy kid, Hannah constantly implemented how freeing it is to just be yourself. To that, I am eternally grateful to have met someone that accepted me for who I am and allowed me to be completely and utterly myself. Besides being that fun girl everyone knew her as, Hannah had so much more to her. She was an amazing sister. There are a countless amounts of times Hannah would stop what she was doing to show me the newest pictures she took of Robbie. Conversations consumed how much she adored her brother on a daily basis.
The day that changed my life forever was the day we waited for the results of soccer captain selections. Since 6th grade it's all Hannah & I wanted, and the day finally arrived. On our way home from practice Hannah had the seizure that changed both our lives forever. For a moment, I thought that was the last memory I would ever have of my best friend. While it was the hardest year of my life, I am so grateful to have had an extra 12 months of friendship with the kindest, most welcoming, intelligent, goofy, loving person I have ever met.
One of Hannah's first posts after that seizure was, ”I’m gonna fight till I can't fight no more” and wow, was she right. I consider myself beyond blessed to have had a friendship with such a strong girl that has inspired so many people. Hannah Duffy changed my life and continues to inspire me to this day.
Happy 22nd Han, I love and miss you.
*** Enjoy the video clips -- and PS, Hannah was completely fine after the 'yoga ball' video! ***
Sue's additional thoughts/memories:
Liv, I can't thank you enough for these little video clips -- of course, I knew all about the crazy antics as Hannah would come home and tell me the funny stories but actually SEEING the laughter and smiles in real time is such a tremendous gift for me. I have seriously watched the dance party clip about 50 times and it just makes me smile so big every time I watch it. And, for anyone watching these little clips, they capture Hannah to a tee....she really was as silly as she appears, but as Liv also stated above, she was so much more too.
Hannah was unique in that she had a special relationship with so many of her friends, loving each one fiercely in her own way. It also makes me so happy to know that Liv & Hannah were able to share so many of these silly times, especially after her diagnosis. You see, Liv was with Hannah when she suffered that massive seizure. So, to know that they were able to pick up where they left off following that fateful day that changed everything...well, to me, that is Hannah's greatest legacy for her best friend....beautiful, funny, hysterical memories - that's the gift.